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Volume 2, No. 12 - May 2003

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War on Terrorism: Detour Through Bechtels and Halliburtons
Editorial Team


Earlier this week, President George W. Bush triumphantly landed on a US aircraft carrier, and declared victory in two of the battles against terrorism. Iraq was conquered, and Afghanistan was undergoing rigorous nation-building. We should all feel safe, because the President has just led the nation, and the world, to security a year and a half after 9-11.

But wait, does the President read the newspapers? Afghanistan is back to square one. The Taliban has joined with the Al Qaeda remnants, and with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's militia, to launch repeated attacks against US and Afghan government forces. Pakistan is back in its role of sponsoring two jehads, one in Afghanistan and the other in Kashmir. The Afghan warlords are fighting each other. Pakistani terrorist leaders are declaring jehad against India, Israel and the US, and anyone else who dares become a hurdle to the Islamic ummah, just as they did in the run up to 9-11. For every couple of bricks being laid by the US-led nation builders in Afghanistan, a brick is being demolished by the Pakistan-orchestrated "cross-border infiltrators".

And in Iraq, much of the population is already wary of the imperial designs of the occupying American forces (were they liberators a couple of weeks ago?). Many have died when they were shot by US troops during repeated protests in the past week - a sure sign of unrest against colonialism. The Shia majority is promising Iran II in a free and fair election. Donald Rumsfeld was shocked, and immediately noted that an Iran-style theocracy would not be allowed. Well what if that is the Iraqis' democratic choice? Would the US want a regime
change and bring Qusay Hussein back from exile to take over?

With terrorist groups doing pretty well in Pakistan (except the occasional Arab who is traded for relief from US pressure) and madrassas multiplying and graduating new recruits there, it is no surprise to hear about regular terror alerts by the US State Department. With attention diverted to Iraq since last August, the world is losing the race against the next big wave of terrorist attacks.

So who is really secure after a year and a half marked by two victorious battles? Let's look at Halliburton and Bechtel Group - run currently or formerly by FOBWs - Friends of Bush W. The two companies have gotten prize contracts in Iraq, some of them apparently no-bid ones. Halliburton's stock graph since last September (remember the beginning of the Bush campaign to win support for the war on Iraq) is astounding. It goes nowhere but up, gaining more than 100% in the time period, while almost every other US stock stagnated and burnt holes in 401K plans.

Now that Iraq can be cashed out, can we expect the bus to get back from its detour? Not likely. Instead of pressuring Musharraf to clean out his jehadi house, Powell and associates are pressuring the weak-kneed Vajpayee to extend a hand of friendship to the same groups who supported the 9-11 attacks and helped revive the Taliban in the past year.

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